Owning a motorcycle sets you apart from most other drivers on the road, but while these machines can be a thrilling experience to ride, many become a distinctly uncomfortable vehicle over long journeys. Consequently, many motorcycle owners tow their motorcycles behind their regular vehicles in enclosed trailers when moving over long distances, and these trailers are great for ensuring your prized ride turns up at its destination in one piece.
However, choosing the right enclosed trailer for your motorcycle means choosing the right materials to make it with, and the sheet metal used to create the protective enclosure of your trailer should be chosen particularly carefully. A number of different sheet metal varieties can be made into tough and effective trailer enclosures, but a poorly chosen metal can do more harm than good. To help you decide, keep the following questions in mind when choosing sheet metals for your enclosed trailer:
How powerful is my tow vehicle?
If you generally tow your motorcycle behind a powerful truck or ute with a high-torque engine, it will probably be capable of towing a trailer made out of any sheet metal you can name. However, smaller tow vehicles may have problems with heavier metals, so you should consider the towing capabilities of your vehicle carefully before choosing your enclosure metal.
If your tow vehicle lacks power, sheet aluminium is a fantastic choice for enclosure creation -- this metal combines above-average durability and incredible resistance to rust while surprisingly light weight and can be used to create trailers that are light yet strong. If, however, your tow vehicle can handle the extra weight, more robust and heavy materials such as carbon or stainless steel can be considered.
What types of roads do you ordinarily tow your trailer along?
Travelling on main interstate roads is not particularly stressful for enclosed motorcycle trailers, and these smooth surfaces allow you to make your trailer from lighter, more fragile metals such as aluminium or lightweight alloys. However, the durability of your chosen sheet metal is far more important if you take your motorcycle trailer off-road, as the bumps and scrapes can badly damage these less substantial enclosures.
For off-road durability, it's hard to beat the raw strength of sheet steel. When crafted from suitable thick sheets, a sheet metal enclosed trailer can protect your motorcycle against knocks, collisions and even the occasional rollover. If you frequent wetland and other muddy off-road areas and rust is a concern, consider having your enclosure steel protected with rustproof coatings, such as powder or galvanised coatings.
Do you tow your motorcycle in winter?
Towing an enclosed motorcycle trailer during the winter months can be a more challenging affair, partially due to the increased likelihood of wet or icy roads. Choosing a heavy sheet metal such as steel can add more weight to your trailer and help increase its grip during these slippery conditions, making it significantly easier to tow (especially on winding rural roads).
However, rust is also a clear and present danger to the winter motorcyclist, caused both by wet roads and the salt used to de-ice high-altitude roads in winter. This combination of substances can quickly cause unprotected steel trailers to rust to pieces, so consider investing in coated steel or stainless steel if these problems apply to you.